General Question

sam's avatar

Is profit the only business of businesses?

Asked by sam (83points) September 18th, 2008

do you believe that businesses are socially responsible to make profits?

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20 Answers

augustlan's avatar

I don’t know if they are, but I think they should be socially responsible.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Profit is the only thing that counts for business. If you want businesses to behave responsibly then you have to refuse to use the services/products of those who don’t. If we cut off their income they will have to change or they will perish.

tinyfaery's avatar

Capitalism. Businesses make money, it’s what they do. But, businesses are made up of people, and I would hope these people feel a sense of responsibility for the well-being of the others, the planet, and every living thing; by evidence, they do not.

critter1982's avatar

Corporate executives are employees of the owners of the business. They have direct responsibility to their employers. That responsi­bility is to conduct the business in accordance with their desires, which generally will be to make as much money as possible while con­forming to the basic rules of the society, both in law and those embodied in ethical custom.

I do not believe though that profit “is the only business of business”. Business’s have environmental responsibilities, societal responsibilities, ethical/moral responsibilities, corporate social responsibilities, educational responsibilities, etc. It is though with utmost importance that business’s make profits because like ‘lightlyseared’ stated, without profits business’s will perish.

Judi's avatar

I have apartments and although it provides me a comfortable living, I hope I never loose sight of the fact that I am providing someone with a home. That is what I am thinking when I tell my property manager not to increase the rent of the little old lady who’s lived there for 20 years on a fixed income. Sure, she may not be making me as much money as a new resident paying twice the rent would, but I am providing her with the security of a well maintained roof over her head and sometimes that means more than money.

augustlan's avatar

I’m with you Judy…I have cut the rent on our rental property a number of times to help out young people, just starting out. It gives me immense satisfaction.

srmorgan's avatar

Take it back to the days when Ugh and Agga were the happiest cave people on the planet.
Ugh made a vessel to hold water by digging up some clay, coiling it and moldng it and she built a big fire by gathering wood, rubbing two sticks together, creating a spark, fanning the fire until it became hot enough to bake the clay so that it would be watertight because if it was still porous the water would leak and it would be useless. And let’s assume that she had to start and process two pots in order to make one good one because there was a lot of trial and error involved.

So she has this pot and Agga comes along and wants it. Agga says I will give you six ears of corn (or some other medium of exchange) and Ugh thinks to herself: Hmmm. I spent half a day digging the clay, half a day making the pot and half of the next day baking the sucker and this idiot Agga thinks it is only worth six ears of corn which will only feed me for one day??

That’s not enough corn, and she asks for twelve ears because spent a day and a half busting her back making this thing and she should get something more for her efforts than just six ears of corn.

or something like that

And that is the essence of business. It is the need to realize a return on investment whether that investment is capital, time, expertise or just plain back-breaking work in the hot sun. Without that there is no motivation.


tinyfaery's avatar

Yay for Judi and augustlan! All business owners should think like you.

BTW, any properties for rent in L.A.?

augustlan's avatar

@tiny: Nope, but come to West Virginia and you’re in!

cwilbur's avatar

Businesses have to make some profit, or they cease to exist.

Spargett's avatar


marinelife's avatar

In our culture, corporations exist to make a profit. Judy and augustlan are individuals in business. They have total control, which they exercise in a way positive for society..

In the case of large corporations, ROI (return on investment) is all that it is about. critter1982 listed a bunch of other things like the environment and social responsibility.

Corporations care nothing for those things except as they are required by regulation (which makes corporations care about other concerns) and “doing the right thing” (or more often making a show of doing the right thing) as it is either demanded by shareholders or adds to the bottom line by retaining or adding customers.

The latter concept is called “cause marketing,” and it is huge business right now. The corporations have studies that show exactly how much needs to be spent on social causes to hold customers and acquire new ones.

Judi's avatar

To whom much has been given, much is required.

tabbycat's avatar

Businesses HAVE to make a profit to stay in business, and most business people want to make a good one, but there is usually some reason businesses deal in the commodity they deal in. On some level or another, most believe in their product. People in the clothing business usually value fashion, and people in the restaurant business usually care a lot about food. Booksellers tend to like books and art dealers tend to like art.

Believing in your product is actually good business. You usually have a better chance of selling something you believe in—therefore making a bigger profit!

Response moderated
liminal's avatar

I would say that businesses are socially responsible to be self-sustaining in their profit making. (I’m sure many of us look at the bank bailouts and agree).

I particularly admire those involved in social entrepreneurship, they expand the idea of “profit making” into sociological benefit.

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MartinDep's avatar

Yeah profit should be the only aim for a business if you don’t use short cuts to earn this profit, give quality in less price to mankind and do a handy charity work by this earned profit.

Response moderated (Spam)
KitLuclucan16's avatar

If profit is the only business of businesses well that business is only thinking about itself. Doing business is should be something about helping yourself and helping other people. It should be a give and take relationship. If you’re only thinking about the profit you earn, definitely it will affect the kind of management you are doing in your business, you will not have a sound reputation from the public, and in return they will start to remove you from their list of businesses they want to avail products or services.

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